How over-the-top excited are you for your day today?
Are you getting super PUMPED for those 8-10 hours of number crunching in your cubicle?
Or are you getting absolutely STOKED to wait tables and deal with rude and impatient restaurant customers?
Or are you getting incredibly AMPED to make those sales calls you have scheduled for tomorrow to sell a product you don’t believe in?
Or are you getting exceedingly THRILLED to [Insert your day job here]?
Let’s be honest, 99.7% of people in those jobs–and I could probably include you in your job–aren’t pumped, stoked, amped, or thrilled to be spending their days the way they’re spending them now.
How do I know?
Because I actually lived every day for extended periods of time in each one of those jobs, and 99.7% of the people I worked with (not to mention my friends who have other kinds of jobs) wished they were doing something else with their life.
So, I’m assuming at some point you’ve wondered, “What the hell am I doing with my life?”
Yes? Cool, me too.
If you’re not asking yourself that question then you’re probably in the .3% that is already living a life by your own design, and you’re experiencing the incredible awesomeness that accompanies it. Congrats!
Personally, I’m not “there” yet, but I am definitely on the right path. Just being on the path towards a life that I imagined is life-changing.
A few years back I started to realize I was running out of time here on earth. I decided that very moment to begin creating a life by my own design. Thanks to that choice, I’m now more pumped, stoked, amped, and thrilled for each day that I have.
Is it hard? Yes. Can it be tiresome? Discouraging? Unapologetic? Yes, yes, and yes.
Luckily, it does get easier the more I practice the 7 skills I’ve listed below. In fact, you must (in my humble opinion) posses these skills in order to actually create and live the life you want.
The unfortunate thing is, none of these skills are taught in any high school, college, or graduate school program.
And the benefits of these 7 skills FAR outweigh the benefits of any skill I learned in my high school and college education.
I didn’t realize I could, or that I needed to learn these skills and, therefore, I didn’t start learning and mastering them until 2 years out of college. Sometimes I sit here thinking about where I’d be today if only I had learned them sooner.
No point in looking at the past, though. Here are the 7 skills you must acquire:
1. The Ability To Discover, And Maintain, A Burning Sense of Desire For The Life You Want
This is the starting point to everything. What is that you want you to accomplish, to be, to experience, and possess?
In the journey from where you are today to the life you want to design, you have to determine where it is you actually want to be.
And where you want to be must not be just a hope or a wish, but an intense, pulsating desire.
My burning desire is to be adventure travel host for a major TV network. The vision I have of actually accomplishing this goal pumps that burning desire through my veins day and night.
A burning desire to be and to do is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off. – Napoleon Hill
2. An Unreasonable Mindset
When you’re reasonable, you do the same things everyone else does. You create ideas, plans, and goals according to what others might do.
Being reasonable will get you buried in the status quo and living a life of mediocrity.
We decided to be unreasonable by self-producing our own adventure travel show, building our own audience, and then (eventually) pitching our show to a network, all without money, time, and experience, or the foresight to know if we’ll actually accomplish our goal.
How unreasonable do you think my colleagues in the real estate and mortgage industry thought I was when I told them, “I think I’m going to ditch this career and become an adventure travel TV host,” never having done it before.
It’s working out pretty well so far. Plus, being unreasonable is way more fun than being reasonable.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” –Wayne Gretzkey
3. Belief That You CAN Create A Life By Your Own Design
We spend our whole lives becoming conditioned to the outcomes of certain events in our lives, positive or negative. And because our mind expects something to happen based on past experiences, the result is often what we anticipate.
This is precicely why it’s of utmost importance to have positive expectations in your mind at all times. When you begin to remove the negative outcome expectations of the past and replace them with positive ones, you can actually begin to believe that what you want is possible.
More importantly, you will train your brain to actually expect to achieve your desired result.
We’ve been working on this adventure travel TV show for over 3 years now. We’ve run into a lot of obstacles, experienced a lot of setbacks, and will continue to do so every day, but the belief in ourselves combined with a burning desire has continued to push us through and make us feel unstoppable.
I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done. –Henry Ford
4. The Balls to Take Action
All the desire, unreasonable-ness, and belief won’t do you any good without action.
And it takes some balls to take action on the life you want to design, but you have to do it.
Don’t get bogged down in analyzing, planning, and preparing what you need to do to take action, just act. When you do, it will trigger all kinds of things that will lead you to the next step in your process or open more doors of opportunity to help you get where you want to go.
Taking action isn’t always easy for us, either. We’re doing something we’ve never done before and the fear of failure or looking stupid sure makes it really hard to act on some of our ideas.
We do it anyway, though, because that “burning desire” for the life we want is so strong we have no choice but to act.
Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. –Abraham Lincoln
5. An Unconditional Love For Failing Forward
If you’re taking any kind of action, inevitably, you’re going to fail. A lot!
Too often people are training for success, when in reality they should be training for failure. Training yourself for failure will help you look your failures in the face and move forward anyway.
The difference between an ordinary person and someone living an extraordinary life that’s by their own design is their perception of and response to failure.
It took me a while to get used to it (I still don’t like the way it feels), but learning to love failing forward has propelled me toward my goal at much faster clip than success would have.
If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate. -Thomas J. Watson
Considering that failure is inevitable, and bound to happen over and over again, it’s very likely that you’ll occasionally want to quit.
Resilience is our ability to bounce back quickly when things don’t go as planned. No school could teach you how to bounce back quickly from defeat, only the experiences we have with taking action and failing forward will.
Developing a resiliency to the failures, setbacks, and challenges will, what I like to say, “callous” you to bigger failures, setbacks, and challenges you will surely encounter as you move along the road to a life by your own design.
We’ve failed so much in creating this show that, at times, we wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits…but we didn’t. Every time we got to a point and wanted to give up we’d remind ourselves of that burning desire.
We try not to dwell on our failures, but we acknowledge the situation and learn from the mistakes we’ve made and we move forward.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. -Thomas Edison
7. Goal Setting Mastery
You have the ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible. The key is to rouse up your creativity, put your ambitions into over-drive, and then use goal setting to help you focus for an extended period of time.
You must “plan the work, and work the plan.” Not setting goals is like being a rudderless ship and you’ll likely never make it to your desired destination.
Unfortunately, most people (myself included) weren’t taught how to set proper goals
We’ve been setting goals since the first day we actually thought about trying to create our show. Without these goals we’d lack direction and drift further from our desired outcome of becoming adventure travel TV hosts.
And, no, we don’t always accomplish the goals we set for ourselves, but by going through the work of setting goals we’ve been able to move much closer to our desired result much faster, and with more direction than if we hadn’t.
What keeps me going is goals. -Muhammad Ali
These skills took me some time to develop, and I’ll continue to develop them as long as I live because I find them essential to accomplishing the dreams I have. If you haven’t put time and effort into developing these skills then I’d highly recommend you start working on them today.
Experience is the best teacher, but here are a few books I’d recommend reading to help lay the foundation.
1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
2. Failing Forward by John Maxwell
3. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
4. Design Your Best Year Ever by Darren Hardy
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